Standardizing Data Collection: Firmatek & Tettra Case Study

Firmatek, based in San Antonio, Texas, analyzes complex data for mining quarries and other physical sites. They use drones and laser scanning to collect information about client sites, and they leverage sophisticated mapping technology to build reports, using the data they collect. Lauren Elmore, President of Firmatek, speaks with us about why consistency is paramount at her company and how Tettra has enabled better consistency through documentation.

The Need

Firmatek needed a way to standardize processes across teams and field technicians. Firmatek employees about 30 people, some of whom are based at the home office, but many of whom spend the majority of their time in the field. These field technicians are distributed all over the country, visiting client sites in many different states. With a distributed team, it’s hard to make sure everyone is doing things the same way. As Firmatek hired new people, the lack of standardization became challenging.

“Before we had all this info in one place, we had ten different people out in the field doing things ten different ways. That doesn’t necessarily mean they were doing it incorrectly...but it did mean that it was more difficult to bring people up to speed. It’s much harder to learn when there isn’t consistency.”

Lauren and her team needed to find a way to ensure that all employees could find and follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) when conducting complex tasks. Not only would such consistency allow for better data collection, but it also lets them hire and train new team members more easily.

The Pain Points

Inconsistency poses a big threat to a business like Firmatek. They generally collect data multiple times from the same site, in order to assess changes over time. Standardized processes are imperative to get consistent, reliable results. Without standardization, they risk giving inaccurate results to the client.

“If people don’t follow the procedures, the data can be off. Our data processing team may have to spend a lot more time fixing the problem to get the data right.”

As Firmatek has grown, information has become disjointed and scattered across many different places. They used to store information in Google Drive, Egnyte, and physical documents. This organization made it challenging for people to find the right document; even when they did find it, it was challenging to find the right information within that document. Lauren notes:

“We had a lot of information all over the place. We have a lot of SOPs, since we’re a really dispersed organization. I was looking for something where we could have all the information in a searchable place.”

The Solution

Lauren and her team began using Tettra about a year ago, and they now use it across all teams. The field technicians rely on it to standardize their work and to bring new employees up to speed. The operations team uses it to disseminate information about policies and training. Firmatek’s leadership team relies on Tettra for executive communications:

“People want to know what the quarterly priorities are. It’s a really easy, searchable way for people to find the information that they need. We’re always look for ways to keep those priorities in front of the employees. It helps people feel connected to something bigger than just their jobs out in the field.”

Lauren cites the ease of use for their success in using Tettra. Being able to aggregate everything and search for it from Slack “makes it easy to drive adoption. When someone needs something...instead of doing the work for them, you can show them how they can help a way that’s easy and respectful.”